Cambridge, MA –Cydan Development, Inc., an orphan drug accelerator that identifies and de-risks programs with significant therapeutic potential, today announced that it has selected Cogentis Therapeutics, HIVE Biosystems, LaunchPad Medical, Real Food Solutions and ReThink Pharmaceuticals to receive the Cydan Scholarships for Rare Diseases, Biotechnology & Therapeutics in partnership with MassChallenge.
“We believe these five companies have presented a compelling vision and strategy,” said Chris Adams, Ph.D., Cydan Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “They represent multiple ways companies are using science and technology to develop products and treatments for rare diseases and thereby support patients. We are excited to guide these innovative startups and follow their progress during MassChallenge and beyond.”
As a MassChallenge sponsor, Cydan has awarded five startup companies $5,000 scholarships to support innovations that improve the lives of patients with rare diseases. Cydan will provide hands-on mentorship and resources in addition to the scholarship and benefits offered by MassChallenge. This year’s winners include:
• Cogentis Therapeutics: Based in Baltimore, Cogentis Therapeutics is developing and commercializing disease-modifying therapeutics for tauopathies such as frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
• HIVE Biosystems: HIVE Biosystems helps pharmaceutical companies accelerate genetics-driven drug discovery by scaling up the genetic modification and deep phenotyping of model organisms enabled by its self-driving, precision instrumentation platform.
• LaunchPad Medical: Focused in the dental market, LaunchPad Medical in Boston has developed and is working to commercialize the world’s first marketed synthetic bone adhesive that both repairs bone and stabilizes metal implants.
• Real Food Solutions: The Anchor Bar, produced by Real Food Solutions in Cambridge, is a nutrition bar that prevents and relieves nausea.
• ReThink Pharmaceuticals: ReThink Pharmaceuticals is working on the concept of drug-repurposing by using technology to find new uses for existing drugs, discover novel uses for failed drugs and find potential treatment candidates for orphan diseases.
MassChallenge Boston sponsors, such as Cydan, awarded scholarships to eligible companies participating in the 2015 Accelerator Program. Other scholarship sponsors include Autodesk, The John W. Henry Family Foundation, Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and Microsoft.
About Rare Diseases
An orphan or rare disease is one that affects fewer than 200,000 patients – or about 1 in 1,500 patients – in the U.S. Other countries including the EU and Japan have defined rare diseases as those affecting similar portions of their populations.
There are nearly 7,000 recognized rare diseases affecting nearly 30 million Americans and an estimated 350 million people worldwide, according to the National Organization for Rare Diseases (NORD, EURORDIS and Global Genes). Most of these rare diseases are genetic and may appear early in life – 75 percent of rare diseases affect children and 30 percent of rare disease patients will not live to the age of five. The vast majority of rare and orphan diseases have no approved treatment options, and there is a critical need for new therapies.
About Cydan Development, Inc.
Cydan is an orphan drug accelerator that identifies and de-risks orphan drug products with significant therapeutic and commercial potential. Cydan evaluates products for treating rare diseases with high unmet medical need with the goal to start multiple companies to develop such therapies. Cydan’s first spin-off company, Vtesse, was launched in January 2015 and is developing drugs for Niemann-Pick Disease Type C (NPC) and other rare, severe diseases with great unmet need.
Cydan was founded in 2013 by a management team with extensive drug discovery, clinical development and business development experience financed by leading life sciences investors NEA, Pfizer Venture Investments, Lundbeckfond Ventures Bay City Capital and Alexandria Venture Investments. The accelerator is based in Cambridge, Mass.